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What are the odds the Knicks land the No. 1 pick and can draft Zion Williamson?

The New York Knicks stunned the NBA on Thursday with a blockbuster trade, sending franchise superstar Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas.

On Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Porzingis “expressed his concern with losing” and the future of the team in a meeting with the organization. Just hours later, the Knicks and Mavericks agreed to a deal that will pair Porzingis with rookie phenom Luka Doncic.

The Knicks are currently 10-40 on the season without Porzingis, who is recovering from a torn left ACL injury suffered last February, and are now trading away their leading scorer in Hardaway Jr.

Both DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews are on expiring contracts, and it’s clear the Knicks intend to clear as much cap space as possible and attempt to lure Kevin Durant and another available megastar in free agency.

If everything works out perfectly for the Knicks, the team could potentially field a team with two max-contract players and the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, widely assumed to be Duke’s Zion Williamson – but just how likely is it that the Knicks’ plan will work out? Unfortunately for Knicks fans, it’s a longshot.

The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery will operate under new rules this year that make it more difficult for the worst team in the league to land the No. 1 pick. The NBA announced the changes, which are intended to stop teams from tanking, back in 2017.

The new system will level the odds at the top of the NBA Draft Lottery so that the teams with the three worst regular-season records will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery.  In the current structure, the top seed has 25 percent of the lottery odds, the second seed has 19.9 percent and the third seed has 15.6 percent.)

Under the new system in place for 2019, the three teams with the worst records in the league will have an equal 14 percent chance of securing the top pick, down from 25 percent for the worst team last season. If the Knicks finish the year with the worst record – a definite possibility – the team will be guaranteed to pick no lower than fifth in 2019.

The odds are reduced gradually beyond the bottom three teams, but every lottery team will still have a chance of landing the top pick. There’s currently a tight 5-way race for the worst record in the league between the Knicks (10-40), Suns (11-42), Cavs (11-41), Bulls (12-40), and Hawks (16-34), so there’s no guarantee the Knicks even finish in the bottom three. According to Tankathon, the Knicks currently have a 47.9% chance of landing the No. 5 pick – which could be disastrous for the organization’s short-term and long-term plans.

The Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis and set themselves up for a chance to sign max players and draft a star. Will it all work out?

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